RCubed Reviews – Garnier Fructis 1 Minute Hair Mask

Last month, I received a VoxBox from Influenster for their campaign with Garnier. It contained one of their latest products, the 1 Minute Hair Mask. There are 5 versions of this mask, each one made to target a specific hair type/issue.

20180221_103042.jpg

 

Some facts to know about these masks:

  • Ingredients are 98% naturally derived
  • Vegan formula
  • Contains no silicones, parabens, or artificial colorants

 

The mask can also be used three ways:

  1. Hair mask – Apply to wet hair. Leave on for 1 minute, then rinse.
  2. Conditioner – Apply from root to tip after shampooing, then rinse.
  3. Leave-in treatment – Apply to damp hair for added moisture and frizz control.

I received the Smoothing Treat mask with avocado extract to test out. Avocado doesn’t have a distinctive scent, but it did remind me a little of banana. As for use, I opted for the first option since I already use a leave-in conditioner for detangling/styling. The ends of my hair tend to get dry as I grow it out and as a result of having it chemically straightened. This actually made them feel softer and more manageable. I eventually saw a display of them at a local Target and smelled them (because I was curious, of course :P). Unfortunately the one for colored hair (with Goji extract) wasn’t available. I did love the scent of the damage repairing with papaya extract, so I purchased that for future use. I will try to track down that last one. Overall, I think this is a great product. The price is reasonable (Around $3.50 USD), and the 3.4 ounce container can last for a while depending on how much you use. 13.5 ounce containers are  also available for around $7.50.

If you’re interested in trying out various products in exchange for an honest review, Influenster may be worth checking out (open to residents of the US only at the moment). You can visit their site here.

Birthday Month Beauty Swag

Ah, January. Beginning of the year and it was also my birthday month. Whoop! I had started gathering up the freebies a few weeks and picked up the rest after my birthday. The one thing I wanted to get ASAP was the mini gift set from Sephora. They’re offering 3 this year From Bite, Glamglow, and Bumble and Bumble. I chose the set from Bite since I was immediately drawn to the shades of the lip products.

20180129_131531_wm.jpg

The set contains samples of their Agave lip balm and lip scrub, and deluxe sample sizes of their Matte Creme lip crayon in Glace and Amuse Bouche lipstick in Chai.

Ulta’s freebie was a Cranberry and Pomegranate lip oil and mask. If you subscribed to their email list and entered your birthday, you’ll receive a coupon to print out and present at any location to receive it. In addition, there’s also a promo to activate which gets you twice as many points for their Ultamate rewards program for every $1 you spend during your birthday month.

20180129_131605_wm.jpg

Haven’t used the lip oil yet, but it smells nice. I don’t know if it’s just me that feels this way, but Ulta’s birthday freebies have been somewhat lackluster in past years, with the exception of the Benefit Porefessional from last year.

I also noticed in their recent ad that they change the freebies depending on when your birthday falls. That kind of annoyed me. It would have been nice if they were all offered as options and we could choose one like with Sephora. *shrugs* Oh well.

RCubed Reviews – Macy’s Beauty Box

Trying out another beauty box subscription after being subscribed to ipsy for 2 years and having a hit or miss experience with the Play! by Sephora did not seem likely. But of course, curiosity got me (again) and I decided to check out the Macy’s Beauty Box. The subscription launched August of last year, and I received their bags from September through this month. Be forewarned, this post will be a lengthy one. Majority of the products are currently unopened unless specified. I wish I could try everything, but I currently have so much other beauty items to get through!

September 2017 – Beauty Passport

macystravel.jpg

What’s inside: These products help keep you “looking fresh & fabulous on the go”.

Ahava Purifying Mud Mask – An invigorating mask that draws out impurities and purifies skin for a more even complexion. // I lean more towards wash off masks compared to sheet masts, so I look forward to trying this, especially if it helps detox the skin.

Burt’s Bees Hand Salve – Packed with botanical oils, herbs, and beeswax to moisturize dry hands. // I ought to toss this into my purse since I often find myself  with dry hands by mid-day. This would have come in extremely handy (no pun intended) while I was working at the clinic.

Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief – This cream-gel moisturizer helps to replenish thirsty skin instantly, and is an ideal travel companion. // I’m pretty sure I’ve tried this before. Either way, I love a moisturizer with this kind of formulation, so it’s definitely going into my travel bag.

Dermablend Loose Setting Powder (opened) – This translucent powder ensures long-lasting, smudge-resistant wear with a natural finish. // I’ve used this a few times and so far it’s been great at keeping a full face of makeup in place. I only wish the container wasn’t so messy.

Laura Mercier Radiance Foundation Primer – This preps your skin for makeup while giving it a sheer, healthy glow. // I get a bit apprehensive every time I see mention of “radiance” in any product. If you’re all about that glow up, good for you! As for myself, I like to keep things toned down. I did give this a swatch, which resulted in a bit of a sheen, but not opalescent, which what I was expecting.

Vince Camuto Ciao Au de Parfum – This contains notes of floral and citrus with amber and vanilla upon dry down. // I felt this had more of a powdery floral scent. Sadly, it’s not something I’d wear.

 

October 2017 – Face the Facts

macysftf.jpg

What’s inside: Samples from top brands to  help you discover what works best for your skin.

Elizabeth Arden SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster – This is to be used before serum or moisturizer. The “boost” comes from key ingredients (glasswort, sea fennel, and flax seed extracts, and probiotics) to help increase effectiveness of the other skin care products used. // I’ve only begun to understand the effects of essences and can only assume this has a similar effect. I’ll try to incorporate it into my evening routine.

Lancome Energie de Vie Water-Infused Moisturizing Cream – This product produces a cooling effect upon application, and increases skin’s moisture (beyond 24 hours according to its description). // I feel like this will be awesome to use during the warmer months of the year. Another one to toss in with the travel stash.

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – Charcoal, white China clay, and lecithin draw out pore-clogging impurities and environmental toxins. // I have acquired a few tubes prior to this one and use it at least once a week on my t-zone. It’s also worked great for me as a spot treatment to shrink down larger breakouts.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer – This light and oil-free primer blurs lines and pores, resulting in an even finish and longer lasting makeup. // I’ve used this a few times in the past, but don’t quite remember if it’s proven useful. I try to not use silicone-based primers often for fear of an oil slick occurring on my face later in the day.

StriVectin Stress Defense Hydrating Water Gel – Recharges skin while also diminishing lines and wrinkles. // Heck yes to another gel-based moisturizer! I can never have too many of these. I’ll alternate this with my current/HG from Garnier.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum – An Allure Best of Beauty award winner in 2015, this has notes of coffee, orange blossom, and vanilla. // Not a fan of the original Opium fragrance, but after sampling it at my local Ulta, this is actually not bad. I’d see myself wearing this on a night out.

November 2017 – Party Perfect

macysblack.jpg

What’s inside: Product with long-wearing formulas to  make touch-ups a breeze.

Beautyblender Blotterazzi Pro – A reusable alternative to blotting paper, this sponge absorbs excess oil to keep makeup looking flawless. // I’ve often forgotten to bring blotting paper on days when I wear face makeup, which caused me to resort to tissue or a napkin to blot my face (blah). I keep forgetting to toss this in my purse to try out (d’oh!). I’m hoping this does just as good a job, if not better, of keeping it shine free.

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening Mascara – Long-wearing formula lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts, and separates lashes. // I’ve received plenty of samples of this from other subscription boxes. Unfortunately the formula has smudged my bottom lids after a few hours. Blame the oily lids, I guess.

CHANEL Gabrielle Eau de Parfum – This floral fragrance contains notes of jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, and tuberose. // If you’re a fan of floral fragrances, this one’s nice. It’s a bit too much for me though.

Lancome Cils Booster XL Vitamin Infused Mascara Primer – Conditioning formula with microfibers and Vitamin E coats and conditions lashes for maximum mascara performance. // I’ve had pretty good experiences with mascara primers. Since Lancome is popular in this category, I’m willing to experiment with this.

MAC Prep + Prime Natural Radiance Makeup Primer – Delivers weightless hydration for a radiant, healthy look. // Again with the radiance! However, this primer is formulated for oily and combination skin. I haven’t used anything from this brand as a primer except for their Strobe Cream years ago. Fingers crossed that this performs well.

Tarte Tarteist Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint in Bestie – This liquid lipstick drys quickly for full coverage that’s transfer-proof. // I have another sample of this in a different shade. Not bad in terms of wear, but I found it to be a bit on the dry side.

December 2017 – Something Beautiful is on the Horizon

macyshorizon.jpg

What’s inside: “Fresh makeup finds and  revitalizing skin care” for a brand new you.

CHANEL La Creme Main – A hand cream that protects, brightens, and moisturizes. // First off, it’s freaking CHANEL. Second, I’ve been hauling hand creams more lately because these are the one part of my body that I wish could have less lines. The fact that the formula helps to diminish dark spots is a major plus. It’s the willingness to drop $50 on a full sized one that I’m not so sure about.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Concentrate Matrix (opened) – This formula reduces the look of fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. 360 Matrix technology strengthens the skin around the eyes. // I’m getting around to using more eye products at night as a preventative measure. I’ve started using it recently. It’s hard to tell if it’s actually working since I luckily don’t have issues with fine lines or dark circles, but it helps me look more “awake”, so I’m all for it.

MAC Liptensity Lipstick – Intensely pigmented and gel based with a satin finish. Long-wearing formula is said to last for up to 8 hours. // I actually got the shade Mulling Spices during Generation Beauty and have yet to use it. I’m not one to sport bright reds very often. This was actually a sampler of 3 shades, including the one mentioned.

20180109_192640.jpg

 

NUDESTIX Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Pencil in Belle – This all-in-one pencil can be used as a lip liner, lipstick, and blush. The matte finish is waterproof, kiss-proof, and non-feathering. // I’m a fan of this brand after discovering them at Generation Beauty. So far I own 4 shades of this pencil. Already have this one, but nice to have a replacement on hand once I’m finished with the other.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream  – 30% Hyaluronic Acid provides intense hydration that lasts up to 72 hours. // This sounds wonderful to use, especially with the current cold weather. Plus it’s oil-free. Travel necessity? I think yes. *thumbs up*

Tory Burch Signature Eau de Parfum – The first fragrance for the brand/designer contains notes of neroli, grapefruit, peony, tuberose, and vetiver. // I sampled this a while back at Sephora and liked that it’s not too heavy from either the floral or fruity side.

January 2018 – Kiss & Tell

macyskandt.jpg

What’s inside: Skin care, makeup, and fragrance perfect for date night.

AHAVA Mineral Hand Cream in Sea-Kissed – Mineral-rich hand cream with allantoin and witch hazel extract protects and nourishes. // I think I know have enough hand cream to toss into every bag/purse I regularly rotate through. The scent reminds me of the beach. Me likey!

Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Nude Pop – Full coverage color with a satin finish keeps lips moisturized for up to 8 hours. // The packaging of this was part of a limited edition run with designer Jonathan Adler. If you’re already aware of my love for neutrals, you know I approve of this nude shade!

Michael Kors Sexy Ruby Eau de Parfum – The brand’s latest scent features notes of raspberry, apricot, jasmine, and cashmere woods. // I was surprised to get the raspberry when I smelled this. It’s on the warm side, which isn’t usually my favorite for scents.

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – This gentle cleanser works to protect dry areas while also preventing excess oil production. // This is an HG for me! I love using it after oil cleansing, and the nice lather it creates leaves my face squeaky clean without drying it out.

philosophy Pure Grace Nude Rose Body Lotion – Notes in this lotion include blush rose, dewy greens, neroli, orange flower, cedarwood, and musk. // I’m fine with rose scents as long as it’s not overwhelming. Have yet to try it on my skin, but the smell of it straight out of the bottle seems OK.

Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Bawse – This light, non-drying liquid lipstick stays put for up to 8 hours. // This shade was created in collaboration with YouTube celebrity Lilly Singh. I’ve only tried another shade (Stepping Out, a deep nude) and it lasted a good while. I’m hoping this looks alright on me when I get around to using it.

Phew! Still with me? If you’re interested in subscribing to the Macy’s Beauty Box, here’s what you should know:

  • $15/month – This is more compared to ipsy and Play! by Sephora, but I enjoyed it because I was already familiar with the brands of the products I received.
  • Each box includes 5 deluxe samples, plus a bonus (spoiler, it’s a fragrance).
  • Includes a coupon for $5 off a beauty purchase either in store or online. I would use this if I shopped at Macy’s more. Unfortunately I don’t.

If you’ve subscribed or currently subscribe to this box, let me know what you think of it.

 

Ulta’s Love Your Skin Event

One thing I’m trying to focus on this year is taking better care of my skin. I’ve been doing a beauty challenge on my Instagram, which has been giving me a good idea of how many products I (actually) use. It’s already enough to make me want to go on another no buy. 😝 Ulta’s Love Your Skin Event, which runs from January 7th through January 27th, features daily “beauty steals” from popular skin care brands.

This is quite convenient as my Clarisonic Mia has finally met its demise after 2+years. 😧 They have a deal for it this Friday, so I will more than likely take advantage. All the deals are on their website. Is there anything you plan on purchasing during this event? Feel free to share in the comments.

November Sephora Haul

Seeing that I had less than $100 to spend before reaching VIB status, I decided last month to finally check off some items from my wish list. Also with flash shipping, I really had nothing to lose. Here’s what I purchased.

 

20171117_221504.jpg

Clockwise from top left:

NUDESTIX Intense Matte Lip + Cheek Mini Set – I had received one of their matte pencils when I attended Generation Beauty in SF earlier this year. I liked how long it lasted, and the matte effect didn’t feel drying. All three shades in this set are neutral, so obviously it was something I had to own.

 

Sephora Collection Double-Ended Blemish Extractor – It’s about time I bought one of these. I’m guilty of the old use-two-fingers-to-extract method for black/whiteheads. Hopefully this tool will lessen the chances of irritation on my face.

 

Shiseido Facial Cotton – One of my top three choices for cotton pads. 10 bucks for 165 pieces may sound ridiculous to some, but the quality of these is almost incomparable to others I’ve tried. I did use another brand for a while, but I felt it was about time I treated myself to these again. Ya know, for old time’s sake. 😛

 

Rahua Classic Shampoo (mini) – I placed this in the basket out of curiosity. According to the description, it uses 100% natural ingredients. Benefits from using this shampoo are to fortify weak/damaged hair, regenerate scalp and hair follicles, and promote moisture retention. After a few uses, I don’t plan on purchasing it again. Not too thrilled with the scent and it doesn’t get as sudsy compared to the other shampoos I currently use. I’m all for natural, but sadly not with this product.

 

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash – I’m already a fan of this after previously receiving it in an Influenster box. I love using it when I double cleanse because it feels refreshing (thanks to the spearmint), and it leaves my face squeaky clean without feeling tight. I have yet to own this in full size. Maybe next time?

Sephora Winter Flush Blush Palette – I’ve been in great need of new shades of blush, so seeing this at under $20 was pretty much a steal. The shades are simply numbered 1 through 8. I think the shimmery ones are a little too small to gather up with a standard blush brush, so I think I’ll just use them as coordinating highlighters instead.

 

Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – This is another Origins product that I’ve previously tried and loved. I use this every other week (although twice a week is what they suggest) to detox my pores. One of the user reviews on this mentioned it helps shrink large pimples, so I’ll consider using it as a spot treatment whenever one of those suckers decides to show up. Thankfully it doesn’t happen very often.

That’s it for my haul. I also purchased a few things not long after reaching VIB since they had their discount event (score). Do you have any of these items on your current wish list, or did you purchase any of them recently? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Coming Soon: Ulta 21 Days of Beauty

For you beauty lovers, that time of the year is just around the corner! Ulta will be having their 21 Days of Beauty event beginning this Sunday Sept. 3rd. Each day, select products are offered in store and online for 50% off  (unless specified). After checking out their selection, I’m actually not going to participate this time. *gasp* Shocking, right? The only item that even slightly grabbed my interest was the UD Flushed palette. Not that I need it, so I’m fine with passing it up.

Check out what they’ll be offering throughout the event on their website.

Do you plan on purchasing anything during 21 Days of Beauty? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Lip Product Storage

I’m in the process of rearranging my lip products, particularly lip glosses and lipstick (any form), and I’m curious to see how my fellow bloggers/readers do this. I currently have them spread out between a few acrylic organizers, and a few accumulated in one of my dresser drawers. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Note: To clarify, I’m referring to “packaging” as the box/container that the item originally comes in when you purchase it. Hope that helps.

Origins VoxBox and My Perfect World Event

Last month, I received the opportunity to attend the VIP Origins A Perfect World Launch Party in San Francisco. I also received samples of their best selling items to try for free, compliments of Influenster.

 

Screenshot_2017-05-18-09-47-10-1

 

What’s inside:

High Potency Night-a mins – An overnight renewal cream that boosts skin’s radiance.

Ginzing Moisturizer – Light weight and oil free, this is said to instantly hydrate and increase radiance.

Ginzing Eye Cream – This refreshing eye cream brightens, de-puffs, and reduces dark circles. Already a fan because I’ve received a sample of this in the past. Love it!

Clear Improvement Purifying Charcoal Mask – The formula of this mask is made to clear pores and dissolve impurities. Used this on my forehead and it felt smoother the next day.

Checks & Balances Frothy Face Wash – A gentle cleanser for all skin types.

So far I’ve only used 2 of the 5 products with the box, but I’m content that the remainder won’t disappoint.

The  My Perfect World Event was held at the Origins location at Westfield San Francisco Centre. Mini facials and a tea leaf reader where on hand for attendees (mainly by appointment, which I unfortunately wasn’t able to make). They also had refreshments and the A Perfect World line available to test out and purchase.

The line is formulated to help “defend body skin against environmental aggressors” and all the products contain antioxidants and White Tea. I took a sample of the Intensely Hydrating Body Cream because it smelled amazing. Other products to note are their Age- Defense Moisturizer (with SPF 40) and Age-Defense Eye Cream (with SPF 20), which are the company’s products with the highest SPF levels to date.

 

The line ranges in price from $24.50 to $44.00 (USD). Will you be checking this out? If you’re a fan of Origins, I’d love to know what your favorite product(s) are from the brand.

Saving Face with Curology

For most of my young adult life, I’ve suffered from mild bouts of acne. Much of my breakouts would occur during “that time of the month”. Darn hormones! Late last year, my chin broke out the most, and it took longer than usual for that area to clear up. By then I figured it was time to look into something other than an over the counter regimen. I’ve tried out a few things in the past; some worked and others not so much. Then I saw a person I followed on Instagram post about Curology. They had a similar issue to what I had with acne, so being the curious person I usually am, I checked out the site.

How does Curology work?

There are a few steps to take prior to being introduced to the product:

  1. Take a medical questionnaire. Results of this will be sent to a healthcare provider who you will be able to communicate with during the course of your treatment.
  2. Upload photos of your face for your provider to examine. Based on your answers in the questionnaire, your your provider will prescribe your treatment. Once it’s confirmed, your product will ship.

Your treatment can be changed at any time. Just request another consultation with your provider. Formulations usually include 3 out of the following ingredients:

  • Clyndamycin
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Trentinoin (strength level will be determined by your provider)
  • Niacinamide
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc Pyrithione

Plans start at $19.99/month and your treatment can either be received monthly or every 2 months. The bottle sizes differ depending on the plan you choose.

curbottles
L-R : Bi-monthly sized bottle (30ml) vs monthly sized bottle (14ml)

Love the simple packaging. Although I would stress to watch out with handling the cover because it tends to crack easily if you’re careless with it. The bottles are shipped with instructions on how to use the product. They are also labeled in the back with your customized prescription and an expiration date.

This has worked very well for my face within the past 8 months. However, I do have to confess that I’ve been inconsistent with it. Surely my face would probably look even better than it does now if I used it regularly.

I took the before photo in my bathroom and the current one outside. I’m bare faced in both with the exception of the lip color for the right. The lighting is drastically different between the 2, but it’s still easy to see that my chin has cleared up nicely.

If you’re interested in checking out Curology, you can do so by clicking here for a free trial. The process involves the same steps as mentioned above, except you only have to pay shipping for a month’s supply of product. After that, you can either cancel or continue treatment with the plan of your choice. I’d love to extend this invite to others outside of the US, but unfortunately they do not ship internationally. They are considering an expansion, so you’ll definitely hear from me if/when that happens.

Target Beauty Box – Hello Hydration

I had no plans on purchasing another one of these boxes any time soon. But when I saw that this was available last month for $7 (originally $10), I gave in. This box featured hair and skin care products to help “kick the winter blahs”. Yes, we’re already into Spring, but I’m still feeling the after effects of the previous season, especially with the weird weather that’s still lingering here in the Bay Area. Let’s check out what I received (prices listed for these products are for their full size in USD).

targetbox.jpg

 

Gliss Ultimate Repair Shampoo & Conditioner ($5.49 each) –  The keratin formula claims to restore hair’s strength while also preventing future damage. I’ve only used this once since getting my hair straightened a few weeks ago. So far the scent isn’t bad, although it could be a tad lighter. My ends are already dry as is, but this might prove to be more beneficial after I have a trim.

 

L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Masks ($9.99) – Although I’m not an avid face mask user, I’ve been curious about these. Glad I’m able to sample all 3 of them. Hopefully I’ll like at least 1 so I can purchase it in full size. The masks contain 3 pure clays and come in 3 types:

Purify & Mattify w/ Eucalyptus

Detox & Brighten w/ Charcoal

Exfoliate & Refine Pores w/ Red Algae

 

Masque Bar Hydrating Face Mask – I’ve mentioned previously that I’m not the type to use a mask regularly, but this one I’m willing to try. I do love a good peel-off mask! Formulated with aloe, collagen, and vitamin E, it hydrates skin resulting in a youthful glow.

 

Raw Sugar Coconut & Mango Body Wash – This smells like being on a tropical vacation, but not overpoweringly so. Still have yet to use it.

 

Soap and Glory Face Soap & Clarity Face Wash – This 3-in-1 cleanser with yuzu claims to “purify, smooth and brighten skin”. It has a light, clean scent and my face felt nice after using it.

 

Sun Bum Sunless Self-Tanning Towelette – I already know this is going to be used on my legs because they are the one part of my body that does not tan. Why is that?! Fingers crossed that this doesn’t turn them orange.

 

W3LL People Expressionist Mini Mascara – The botanical blend nourishes lashes and is also 100% cruelty, coal tar, and aluminum free. I wanted to like this since it wasn’t clumpy when I applied it. Unfortunately, after checking myself in the mirror following the event that I attended that evening, it was a bit of a smudge fest under my eyes (boo).

 

I’m pretty satisfied with more than half of I received, so I feel that it was worth the investment. I have another Target box on the way, so I’ll review that hopefully by the end of the month. Did you happen to get the Hello Hydration box? Let me know what you think of it.